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Topic: 2012 SF Challenge: FEBRUARY THREAD

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Brad -
Subject: 2012 SF Challenge: FEBRUARY THREAD
Date Posted: 2/2/2012 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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2012 SF Challenge -- LISTS ONLY THREAD

2012 SF Challenge -- DECEMBER/JANUARY THREAD



Last Edited on: 2/2/12 11:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Brad -
Date Posted: 2/2/2012 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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 Finished The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley.  I'm using it for the Time Travel category, but I think it could fit on the generation ship category (although only a tiny bit of Ophiuchi is about a generation ship), could be used for the Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic category as well. 

Having read Varley's Steel Beach very recently and loved that I wanted to read more of his "Eight Worlds" books.  While I liked The Ophiuchi Hotline, it wasn't near as good as Steel Beach.  Although apparently it's up for debate if Steel Beach is considered part of the Eight Worlds series.  Ophiuchi jumped around a little too much for me.  I had to skim decent size sections when he was talking about moving black holes around space and other things.  Still it was well worth the read and I do want to read more of the Eight Worlds.

Date Posted: 2/2/2012 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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I started reading Grumbles from the Grave edited by Virginia Heinlein and discovered it was not what I expected.  So although it's non-fiction and not covered by any catagory I'll continue with it.  I also need to read Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold before the end of the month so I can return it to the library on time.

Amy
Date Posted: 2/5/2012 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
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I finished The Golden Age by John C. Wright. This was hardcore SF with a lot of themes that your normally see (ie. too much technology, while helpful to mankind, can only hinder it in the long run).

There was a lot of technological jargon and hard science facts that I didn't fully understand. It was absolutely hard to follow, but I managed to wade through all of that to find a decent plot.

That said, I'm not totally sure why I'm supposed to care about the main character. He wasn't particularly heroic nor did he do anything to make me really care for him. Revealing his actual accomplishment, and why he's a character that I could care about, would spoil it for anyone who might be planning to read it.

I want to read the sequels out of pure curiousity, but I'm pissed that this couldn't be a story in and of itself. I'm getting sick of reading trilogies and series, even though I know that's part and parcel of this genre.

I originally mentioned that this might work for the category work set in a human interstellar empire, but that is wrong. This book is not set in an interstellar empire.



Last Edited on: 2/5/12 9:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/6/2012 8:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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I was disappointed too when I book didn't pan out the way I had hoped.  But then there are others that fill more than one catagory.  So maybe it evens out in the end. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/6/2012 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I read The Long Walk by Stephen King yesterday and I'm counting it for the alternate history category.  There is very little backdrop to the story, but there are some interesting hints about the dystopian outside world, and a reference to storming a German nuclear weapons site in 1953 that certainly never happened in this reality.  The story was pretty intense, but I didn't really feel it was one of King's best.

Date Posted: 2/7/2012 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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I have watched a couple of the movies made from his books but I'd be afraid to read one.  It seems weird to see him in a Science Fiction catagory at all to me.  But it fits the catagory. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/7/2012 4:34 PM ET
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Stephen King has written quite a few books with science fiction elements, including one of his other "Bachman" books, The Running Man, as well as The Stand, The Tommyknockers, Dreamcatcher, and most recently Under the Dome.  

Date Posted: 2/8/2012 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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So, what are you reading next?

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/8/2012 11:11 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I'll probably read a couple of Ron Goulart's books for the SF comedy and SF mystery categories.  His stories are basically a satirical tribute to earlier pulp fiction writing...typically a little corny, but entertaining and easy to read.  I used to read a lot more science fiction than I do now.  I'm reading a lot more nonfiction especially.

Subject: Stephen King
Date Posted: 2/8/2012 12:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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and most recently Under the Dome 

___________________________________

Even more recently, his time travel book, 11/22/63.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/8/2012 2:19 PM ET
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I guess, but since it's an unexplained phenomena (I think) I'd consider it closer to fantasy.  Same as alternate universe jumping in The Talisman.  

Date Posted: 2/8/2012 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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I just finished Mirror Dance.  I might read the rest of the series at some point but not right now.  I just received Rite of Passage, Blue Chapagne, and The Other that I'm reading for the challenge so I'll probably read them in that order.  I know I love Rite of Passage, Blue Chapagne will be a new author for me, and the other new also a new author but one I'm more excited about. 

I'm having a hard time comming up with anything that would fit the humor catagory, it could be that I'm just not understanding.  I know I don't like hitchhiker type literature.  I may not end up with anything for that catagory. 

Brad -
Date Posted: 2/9/2012 7:48 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Tammy-

For last year's humor I read Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman, which was fantastic.  

Jasper Fflorde's The Eyre Affair seems would work as well.  I'm a ways into it and there's definitely humor, so I marked it into the commedy category.

Date Posted: 2/9/2012 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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Thank you for the suggestions.  I'll put them on my list.

Date Posted: 2/9/2012 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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If you like satirical and cynical humor, there's Kurt Vonnegut.  I discovered him last year and have been steadily reading my way through his work.  My favorite sci-fi book by him so far would be Cat's Cradle, followed by Slaughterhouse Five. Both deal with the horrors and atrocities of war.  Cat's Cradle is much more humerous than Slaughterhouse Five but both are satires.

Date Posted: 2/11/2012 2:31 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
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I'm using Plague of the Dead by Z A Recht as my apocalyptic choice.  A virus starting in the jungles of Africa has reached out over the world, killing all who contract it and then reanimating their corpses to continue the spread.  This was a fairly plausible zombie story (particularly the government cover ups and incompetence) with lots of action.  I liked that this was more a thriller than a gore fest.  I could wish for more character development but it has a good story line obviously to be continued in future books.  This could also be used as the military sf, sf set on Earth with no space travel and (for me) sf work by an author I haven't read before categories.  I'm using this book as my horror selection in the other challenge.

Date Posted: 2/11/2012 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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Kurt Vonnegut wouldn't be my choice for comedy although I understand what you are saying about it being satire.  I'm looking for something more likely to make me roll on the floor laughing.  Or at least smile all the way through. 

Hey Lisa, have you ever read White Plague by Frank Herbert?  That's a plague story as well but not Horror oriented at all.  I'm glad you mentioned the one you read because I really hadn't considered White Plague which would be a good fit for our challenge.  Of course an older book but then most of my choices are.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/11/2012 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I'm not Lisa, but I read The White Plague a long time ago (12+ years anyway).  As fiction, I'd say it was somewhat interesting, but a little depressing.  Dune is one of my all time favorite novels, but for some reason I think the rest of his writing is bland and mediocre.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/11/2012 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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As for comedy, I don't know if anyone's a better writer than Vonnegut.  I already mentioned Ron Goulart, who pays homage to the early SF pulps with his slapstick style and goofy stylized aliens and robots.  I liked Bob Shaw's novel Who Goes Here? which is funny, but with some serious bits as well.  The most non-satirical humor SF writer I can think of is John Zakour.  I enjoyed his first book, The Plutonium Blonde, but my interest in the series waned pretty fast with the next couple of books.

Date Posted: 2/11/2012 8:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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Dune is my all time favorite movie.  I wasn't able to get into the book.  I probably haven't the sophistication you do in your reading.  I'm basically very simple at heart.  Thank you for all the Comedy suggestions, I'll definitely look into them.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/11/2012 9:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I won't pretend to be sophisticated, but I spent about half of my life reading nothing but science fiction!  I spent one summer reading every Star Wars book I could get my hands on.

Subject: funny SF
Date Posted: 2/11/2012 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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Hal Spacejock is funny.  You can get the first book for free off Amazon, if you're willing to read an e-book.

Date Posted: 2/11/2012 11:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
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I've read most of the Dune series but haven't read White Plague.  Thanks for suggesting it, I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

As for humorous science fiction, if you haven't read them, I would add to the suggestions To Say Nothing of the Dog and Bellwether by Connie Willis.

Date Posted: 2/12/2012 7:02 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
Posts: 266
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Thank you for the suggestions.  It's nice to have options.

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